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I know what a recruiter is. But what is a 'recruitment consultant'?

Author: Elliot Cirkovic

Published date: 2019/03

Blog I Know What A Recruiter Is But What Is A Consultant

I think it’s safe to assume that most people rarely know the difference between a recruitment consultant and a recruiter. A lot of people probably didn’t even know there was a difference!

To be fair, before I worked in this industry, I didn’t know there was a difference either.

It is generally a topic that some employers/employees probably wouldn’t have the time to research and it’s important to understand the differences when deciding who you would like to deal with on a professional level.

As I work as a consultant for a boutique recruitment firm, and I compete against a lot of ‘recruiters’, I am able to explain what a consultant does and why it differs from a recruiter, from my own professional perspective.

I have observed that a consultant will generally take more time in their process than a recruiter, and will have a strong follow up/aftercare process to ensure that both candidate & client are happy, along with an in-depth interview process to make sure that candidate and client are aligned.


So, what is a recruitment consultant? What do they do?

From my experience, here is a summary of what a consultant should and will do for you:


1. The screening process


A consultant will screen a potential employee with as much information as possible and should generally be covering off the following points:

  • An initial phone conversation
  • Discuss responsibilities in past positions
  • The team structure of past positions
  • Specific examples of what candidates did in challenging situations and how they resolved it(problem solving)
  • Relevant software/project knowledge
  • Expectations in a new role
  • Expectations in a new company– company culture, benefits, etc.
  • The key frustrations (if any) in their current company
  • Strengths of the candidate (both technical & personal)
  • Current salary and their target salary
  • References (professional & off the record)

All this relevant information is collected and analysed to qualify a candidate for a potential employer. It will prove to be crucial when it comes to offering that candidate a job and ensuring they accept.

On the flip side of screening a potential employee, a consultant will screen a potential employer and should understand the following points:

  • Understanding of the business structure/hierarchy
  • Why would people want to work at said business?
  • Why have people left their role/company in the past (both senior and junior level)
  • What does the career progression look like at all levels?
  • Full understanding of business specialities (sector/projects etc)
  • What professional development plans do they have in place?

This information can come from a range of sources, whether it be from speaking/meeting with HR, direct line managers, or from people who have left the business. A consultant should understand what ‘type’ of people work well in the business.


2. Advice


A consultant will give free advice to both potential employees and employers. Some of the ways to give advice to candidates are below:

  • Information about potential companies (regardless if you are representing them or not)
  • General market information (which sectors are doing well etc.)
  • Career advice
  • Remuneration advice for both employee & employer
  • Social media advice
  • Networking tips and tricks


3. Aftercare


Aftercare, in my opinion, is one of the most important stages of recruitment in the days, weeks, and months after a candidate starts a new position. As this is generally the period where any seeds of doubt will begin to grow. Having a strong aftercare process is much more important that just ‘keeping in touch’, to prevent the candidate dropping out and you being stuck having to replace them.


Below are some points on how consultants would approach aftercare:

  • First day jitters – reassuring the candidate in the weeks coming up to start date
  • Phone call on the first day to both the candidate and client
  • Weekly check ins to pick up on any issues if and as they arise
  • Communicating efficiently between the employee and employer to iron out anything that may pop up
  • During and after guarantee period, assessing if the company is delivering on what was discussed in the interview process
  • Continuing communication after guarantee period and showing genuine interest

4. Morales / Values


A consultant will have strong values which they will hold strong in tough times. Some strong values that I believe a good consultant will hold are:

  • Genuinely caring about their clients and candidates
  • Honesty
  • Strong ethical approach to situations
  • Put others before themselves


5. Networking


A consultant should be attending regular networking events both to keep up to date with market trends, information and to build key relationships. To be an expert in a field, knowledge is key.


These points, to me, are what make up a good consultant. Some of these people have naturally and others require years of practice and time in the market.

So, now you have a brief summary of what a recruitment consultant will do for you, and you probably have a good idea of what a recruiter does. Whether you are an employee or a job seeker, it is important to understand the two so you know who you want to be dealing with when the time comes for you to either change job or career, or whether you are looking for some new employees for your business.

If you want or need a lot more assistance in

  • your job/candidate search,
  • in the interview process,
  • or in the aftercare of the new role,

then you may need to consider working with a consultant rather than a recruiter.


Elliot Cirkovic is a Senior Consultant in Architecture & Interior Design at Fetch Recruitment